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MassGOP taps Amy Carnevale to be new party chair

Amy Carnevale was voted the new party chair of the Massachusetts GOP. (Steve Brown/WBUR)
Amy Carnevale was voted the new party chair of the Massachusetts GOP. (Steve Brown/WBUR)

After a disastrous election that saw the party shut out of all statewide offices, the State Republican Committee narrowly voted to replace two-term chairman Jim Lyons with Washington lobbyist Amy Carnevale of Marblehead.

Carnevale garnered 37 votes to Lyons’ 34 votes in the second round of balloting Tuesday night in Marlborough.

So the party tonight took a fresh start and a fresh approach to get back to a strategy of trying to win elections and get Republicans elected to office,” said Carnevale who has been active in party politics in Massachusetts for 30 years.

“Clearly, the vote was a signal that our party is going to take a different track moving ahead. And I’m taking that as a signal that we also need to reach out to unenrolled voters in order to get Republicans elected to Congress, to positions up and down the board,” she added.

She will serve a two-year term as chair. 

Many Republicans put the blame for the party’s woes squarely on Lyons. They questioned his putting the party’s limited resources into the governor’s race, which most political observers knew was a very long shot. Lyons’ critics thought he should have put more effort into down-ballot races, thinking some of those contests were competitive and could have been won by Republicans.

There have also been questions about party finances.  The party’s treasurer has said that the state GOP has only $35,000 in the bank.

Carnevale says she will spend some time getting a handle on the party finances, and also plans to hire an executive director to run day-to-day operations of the state party.

Republican National Committee member and longtime Massachusetts Republican activist Ron Kaufman had praise for Carnevale, who was a delegate for Donald Trump in 2016: “She represents the kind of personality that I think the party’s going to turn to more and more and more, like ones who are certainly fiscally conservative, socially in the middle, and moderate in tolerance. It’s a cross between a hardcore conservative and a hardcore libertarian.

Lyons refused to speak with reporters after the meeting.  In his concession speech, he congratulated Carnevale for her victory and promised to never quit “fighting for our life, liberty and freedom.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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